|Mimi & Nino Chavez: The Old Adage|
K. Caseo Photography
"I don't want it to be the way I planned / I don't want it to be predictable..."
The Old Adage aren't afraid of pop music the way I've observed other bands to be.... I feel like some artists/songwriters kinda panic when they get to the cliffsides of super-catchy pop...Like they'll sacrifice some hipster-cred. The Old Adage ain't got time for that existential quandary over keeping one's edginess. It's not about that, really, it's just about embracing whatever comes out of their heads in the studio. Besides, why deny your ears a bit of "candy" now and then...
More than that, they've probably got a better appreciation for the overlooked charms of pop by now because the sibling duo of Mimi & Nino Chavez have been working on music together for a full half of their respectively young lives. Actually, as they told me: it's something less tangible. With songwriting, they bypass any of that panic of worrying about "a sound..." or "an image..."because they're approach is very much a just-let-it-happen, kinda thing...
And so what comes through on a lot of their 2016 album Cycles, as well as their brand new single, "Hollywood," is, above all, the effervescence of pop, but a blend of genres, from electro-snap dancefloor anthems to acoustic jangle-rock, coated carefully in the mix to let the vocals and harmonies shine through to the top.
"I think all of our influences really inspire our sound," Mimi said. "That could be whatever we're listening to in that time of when we're writing, but other than that, when we do write it's more like it just comes out of thin air; I have no idea how we do it..."
"We do have that similar DNA, though...," said Nino. "But I think that really helps us be on the same page when it comes to songwriting because we generally have the same ideas for the direction of the song, even though it never ends up 'there...' But we get to where we need to go and have similar visions for things."
|Old Adage performing at Fanic Music Series, Detroit|
photo by My Art My Rules
Old Adage have been relatively MIA from local stages, at least here in Detroit. But that doesn't mean the duo haven't kept busy in other aspects of music. Mimi said that they've been focusing more on studio time, as well as developing their small business, Little Butter Records. Meanwhile, throughout the year, she was booking a few shows for some Old Adage ally bands and Nino was in the studio recording some other artists.
"We've just been focusing on writing a lot; we have a ton of new music in the works right now," said Mimi. "I feel like taking this break from being so out there on social media and on stage has really helped us devolope more as individuals. I think that is super important to have and keep because being an artist can really engulf you a little too much sometimes. You gotta stay human!"
"Hollywood's" production evokes the surfeit stimulus flash of a packed party, a dance deluge...with layered synths cascading around a top-notch techno-pop beat while Mimi's vocals are triple+ tracked in harmonies with each other in this ebullient call & response enveloped by meteorite guitar fuzz. They were already producing their own material for their first two albums, so this is an encouraging indicator of sounds to come...
"I think our biggest development has definitely been our songwriting and production," Nino said. "We had a friend tell us once "an artists favorite piece of work is always their newest piece of work" and ever since then I could really relate! I have a huge passion for sound...I'm constantly tweaking everything. If it were up to me we'd never release anything because it takes so much for me to be like "Ok it's ready". Mimi usually does some convincing
"And I think our biggest realizations this year have been staying true to ourselves," said Mimi. "Well..., that's speaking for myself at least. I feel like 2017 has been very much dedicated to me coming out of my shell. I'm not shy on stage or anything but I have been kind of shy in the past and really lowkey...I've really become a lot more comfortable and mentally and physically healthy. I'm really excited to express that through The Old Adage."
"This track is a really great re-starting point for us because there's a lot to come from it and the processes we are going to begin using,"Mimi added.
Nino considered the production on this new song to be a bit "bipolar." The verses are bouncy and happy and then it leads the listener into a very dark vibe in the chorus. "Our songs are usually a little all over the place. It's actually hard for us to get them to sound "normal" or "cohesive" a lot of times. Our style is a little weird and quirky....but we still badass, (laughs).... I've been really into a lot of EDM and pop lately (as I have been for a while) so a lot of that goes into my production influences."
Mimi, meanwhile, called "Hollywood" a dream song for her..., not just expectation wise, but that it came to her in a dream. "I think this is our most passion filled song because it's our latest and most life/experience filled track. "Lyrically it was just an idea of this great love. Like a boi... A perfect man. But that doesn't really exist so I wrote a song about it...! The chorus is about that and the verses are more about not wanting life love or anything to be what's expected or boring. It's about keeping things exciting and life throwing you for loops. I think my terrible love life inspired this song lyrically lol so thank god for that?"
And then I ask them the question they have to field in almost every interview... about how their relationship, not specifically as family, but as collaborators, has changed over the years? Or, at least, what defines it....? What keeps them together?
And Mimi said that "...this year has been really different for our relationship. We've had a lot of phases where we really weren't very close. Our lives are a lot busier and I do think everyday life got in the way of The Old Adage a little bit this year...but like I said we have to be people as well as artists...we have responsibility like everyone else. The stress of everyday can get to us but music always brings us together."
And Nino assessed that they like to look at their relationship as a professional one. "We are closer than most siblings BECAUSE of our music. We do have a lot of the same friends and hangout outside of music but we try to not get too sick of eachother. We live together so that in itself can be enough sometimes! We're very alike and very different at the same time. I think this year really has made us grow apart in a healthy way. We are more on our own than needing to be "Mimi and Nino" everywhere we go which is a nice change of pace."
In the year ahead, The Old Adage plan on releasing a lot more singles, likely every few months. Sometime later on in 2018, they'll put together a new EP for release, but stressed that, they don't want to make any promises as of yet because of how much else they're both each working on at the moment.
"We really want (the new music) to be very polished and radio-ready, of course, and candy to your ears."